Tuesday, April 19, 2011

MS150 2011

Before I continue with Truffles Part2, I'm gonna take a slight deviation and talk about my amazing friends and fellow cyclists.

This past weekend was the 2011 MS150. 170 miles from Houston to Austin on my bicycle.

I have to be honest. It was difficult getting motivated for this years ride. I've been spending a lot of time planning a wedding, and then bam, in October, the fire hit. So my whole winter was spent either doing wedding planning (which I love) or rebuilding my house with a bunch of contractors (not so much fun).

I tried to take time out each weekend to ride, but it was difficult. There was always something to do or somewhere to go. My mind was preoccupied.

But that's no excuse. After all, I was riding to help people. For my fourth year in a row, come April, I would saddle up and ride for my mom, Bonnie, and for everyone with MS. And this year was no different.

On Friday April 15th, my awesome friends and co-workers helped to push my fundraising over $1000 for the year... AND push me over my four year $10,000 mark! Thank you so much to everyone!

On Saturday morning, Jeremy drove me from Clear Lake down to the start area and I saddled up around 6:30. It was cold. Not as cold as my first year, but still, by the end of the first mile, I couldn't feel my fingers, ears, knees, or face. Fortunately I made the last minute decision to wear my arm warmers. I was happy about that. I kept them on until past mile 40.

The first half of the ride was great. I was riding by myself this year, so I jumped on a few pacelines and just cranked on the pedals. Around mile 35 I met up with one of my fellow Saint Arnolds team members and we rode together for a while. Eventually I told him he could just leave me, because this year I was in a hurry to go nowhere. I took my time slugging up the hills, babying my left knee (thank you Tough Mudder), and just enjoying the ride. I was actually enjoying riding by myself. I could go as fast or as slow as I wanted without feeling like I was holding anyone back. Plus, I met a bunch of people along the way.

I decided to skip lunch and hit rest stops 3, 5, and 7 on the first day. Usually I hit 2, lunch, 6 and 8... so it was nice seeing what the other stops had to offer. I actually enjoyed skipping lunch. I had a builder bar on me, and that seemed to do much better than a ham and cheese sandwich would have done.

After turning the corner around mile 90, something happened. The wind. The wind was at our back. First time all day. It was awesome. And just in time too, those last few miles are always the worst and with such a strong tailwind... well, lets just say, had it been a headwind, ugh. I flew up the next 6 miles with more energy than I had all day. I came into La Grange at 1pm and I felt pretty good. And to make it better, after crossing the finish line there was a nice Saint Arnolds volunteer waiting to hand me a beer even before I got to the tent!

Day 2 I started around 6:30am again, this time slightly warmer than Saturday. I got to mile 20 (still before Buscher State Park) and started the long slightly inclined climb. I was moving pretty slow and knew the park was gonna hurt this year. I was hoping my knee would hold up and at least get me up the hills.

I came down the hill before the park doing my usual pulse breaking at about 30mph while people screamed past me around 40mph. I'm sorry, that's just a little too fast for comfort when I'm sitting on two skinny tires with very little protecting my body should I take a crash.

I hit Bastrop and Buscher state park around 8am, warmed up a little at rest stop 2, and got on my way. I just took my time and enjoyed the scenery. I took every hill as it came and conquered them all. Not nearly as easily as years before, but that's what you get for not training very well. It was my own fault.

After the park I took a break at the gas station for my day 2 lunch, another Builder Bar, and got back on the bike. I skipped lunch again and stopped at the next, and last for me, break point. My shoulders were killing me, so the lovely volunteers were nice enough to rub bio-freeze on them. Man, that felt better.

The hills coming into Austin didn't seem as bad this year, maybe because we were blessed with a mostly tail/slightly cross wind until the last 3 miles or so. I hit the finish line around 11:30am and took my hands off the handlebars for a picture. Okay, not that far off, but at least up enough to say "yay" and then quickly grab the bars again. Man, how embarrassing would that be to crash at the finish line.

My lovely fiance brought beautiful roses to the finish line for me, and we both relaxed a little and chatted up with some fellow teammates. Oh, and we drank Saint Arnolds... of course! Unfortunately Brock wasn't there to meet us this year, but we hope he turns up next year!

Overall a great ride and of course I'm happy that I rode. See you again in 2012... probably.

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